After being in lockdown for so long and not being able to travel, it’s good to visit an international destination again. The landscape of travel has changed. I would be lying if I didn’t say there is more hassle and expenses involved when travelling during the pandemic. In this article, I detailed all my expenses while travelling in Argentina, Uruguay, and Paraguay.
Most of my time in South America was spent in Argentina. I’ve been to this country before but didn’t get a chance to explore it as thoroughly as I have on this recent trip. On my previous trip, I only came to see Iguazu Falls. So, it’s nice to see the different regions of Argentina this time around. I also decided to fly out of Uruguay to tick off another country visited and I made my way to Paraguay for the same reason.
My 11 days spending breakdown while travelling in Argentina
- Food and water – 19,791 pesos ($137.44 CAD, $105.72 USD)
- Uber – 1,242 pesos ($8.63 CAD, $6.60 CAD)
- Buenos Aires Airport Taxi – 2,700 pesos ($35.11 CAD, $27 USD – not black market rate)
- Aerolineas Flight booking paid by cash – 25,000 pesos ($173.61 CAD, $132.98 USD – black market rate)
- Aerolineas Flight booking paid by credit card – 57,582.96 pesos ($398.18 CAD, $306.29 USD – not black market rate)
- Ibis hotel in Buenos Aires – 2,868 pesos ($19.91 CAD, $15.32 USD)
- Hostel Estoril (1 night in a dorm and 2 nights in a private room and towel rental) – 5,780 pesos ($40.14, $30.88 USD)
- Ferry to Colonia, Uruguay – 11,000 pesos ($76.39 CAD, $58.76 USD)
- Round-trip bus between El Calafate and El Chalten – 5,000 Pesos ($34.72 CAD, $26.71 USD)
- Hostel America del sur (El Calafate) – 5,600 ($38.89 CAD, $29.91 USD)
- Hostel del Glacier for 2 nights (El Calafate) – 9,380 pesos ($121.94 CAD, $93.80 USD – not black market rate)
- Traveller’s hostel for 2 nights (El Chalten) – 6,900 pesos ($47.91 CAD, $36.86 USD)
- Perito Moreno Glacier entry fee – 800 pesos ($5.56 CAD, $4.27 USD)
- Airport shuttle bus in Bariloche – 400 pesos ($2.78 CAD, $2.14 USD)
- Trekking pole rental – 500 pesos ($3.47 CAD, $2.67 USD)
- Laundry – 700 pesos
- Metro ticket – 400 pesos ($2.78 CAD, $2.14 USD)
- Taxi – 3,125 pesos ($21.70 CAD, $16.69 USD)
- Taxi from El Chalten Airport to Perito Moreno Glacier – 6,000 pesos each person ($41.66 CAD, $32.05 USD)
- PCR Test (I got two tests taken at 6,500 pesos each) – 13,000 pesos ($90.28 CAD, $69.44 USD)
- Flight from Vancouver to Montreal to Sao Paulo to Buenos Aires – 21,700 pesos ($282.10 CAD, $217 USD – not black market rate)
Total cost of travelling in Argentina
- 199,468.96 pesos ($1,385.20 CAD, $1,065.54 USD USD)
The average daily cost of travelling in Argentina
- 18,133.54 pesos ($125.93 CAD, $96.87 USD) per day
Total cost of travelling in Argentina without flights and PCR test
- 82,186 pesos ($570.74 CAD, $439.03 USD)
The average daily cost of travelling in Argentina without flights and PCR test
- 7,471.45 pesos ($51.89, $39.91 USD) per day
Total points and miles spent while travelling in Argentina
- 114,000 Aeroplan points
As you can see, our biggest expense during our trip to Argentina is the domestic flights. It’s my fault as I forgot to remind Karen to bring more Argentine pesos when we went to the Aerolineas office to buy our flight tickets. We ended up having to pay with a credit card for part of the ticket price which doubled the amount of money we spent on them. In Argentina, you want to pay with cash for everything with the USD you exchanged for Argentine Pesos in the black market. That way, you have nearly double your purchasing power.
The PCR tests also added up but came in handy later on because we actually used both our PCR tests.
I mention the “black market” but the locals refer to it as the “blue market”. This is because the blue market is not illegal despite the fact you are not exchanging at the official rate.
My 1-day spending breakdown while travelling in Uruguay
- Bus from Colonia to Montevideo – 465 pesos ($13.06 CAD)
- Luggage storage – 80 pesos ($2.25 CAD)
- Water – 50 pesos ($1.40 CAD)
- Taxi from the central bus station to Hotel Bahamas – 600 pesos ($16.85 CAD)
- Hotel Bahamas – 2227.50 ($62.55 CAD, $49.50 USD)
- Taxi to the airport – 464 pesos ($13 CAD)
- Food – 1,028 pesos ($28.87 CAD)
The total cost of travelling in Uruguay
- 4,914.50 pesos ($138.01 CAD)
I only went to Uruguay for a day to check out Colonia before flying out of the country via Montevideo the next day. Karen and I felt sad at the obviously higher prices for everything in Uruguay in comparison to Argentina. I thought Uruguay was a neat country but I think my one day visit here is once in a lifetime. I would have to say they had a very nice and efficient airport compared to the other South American countries I have visited.
My 1-day spending breakdown while travelling in Paraguay
- Flight from Montevideo to Bogota to Asuncion – 304,060.89 Guarani ($54.80 CAD) + 60,000 Aeroplan points per person
- Airbnb in Asuncion – 163,127.56 Guarani ($29.40 CAD)
- Taxi from the airport to our Airbnb – 60,000 Guarani ($10.81 CAD)
- Taxi from our Airbnb to the airport – 60,000 Guarani ($10.81 CAD)
- Uber from our Airbnb to the mall – 32,900 Guarani ($5.93 CAD)
- Food – 120,000 Guarani ($21.63 CAD)
- Uber from the mall to our Airbnb – 33,100 Guarani ($5.97 CAD)
The total cost of travelling in Paraguay
- 773,188.45 Guarani ($139.35 CAD)
Total cost of travelling in Paraguay without flights and PCR test
- 469,127.56 Guarani ($84.55 CAD)
Total points and miles spent while travelling in Paraguay
- 120,000 Aeroplan points
Paraguay is a pleasant surprise for our trip. My goal of going to Paraguay was to complete it as a country visited. After visiting it, that’s no longer the case. I will definitely return because I loved my time in Paraguay and I see it as a very interesting travel destination. It’s also affordable if you stay longer than one day. To make the situation even better, Paraguay no longer requires Canadians to purchase that expensive $160 USD tourist visa. As of late 2021, travelling to Paraguay is now visa-free for Canadians!
There is more hassle and it is more expensive to travel during the pandemic. Sadly, there is no getting around this fact. The best way to make travel more affordable is to make sure you don’t do what we did which is travel to several different countries. If you spend more time in one country, it is much cheaper. This is because you don’t have to keep paying to do a PCR test and to fly around.
We also travelled during peak season which made the hassle even worst. I do think travelling in South America is better done outside the month of December. Prices will be cheaper and there is a lot less hassle on your part. And if you travel on frequent flyer miles like we do, making a redemption becomes much easier as well.
Just make sure you are well prepared when you travel in Argentina and exchange tons of $100 USD in the black market to save you money in the long run.